Fawlty hotel for sale

£1.5m for sitcom's inspiration

The hotel whose service was so bad it inspired John Cleese to create Fawlty Towers has gone on sale.

The Monty Python team stayed in the Hotel Gleneagles in Torquay while filming in Devon in 1971, and were astounded by the behaviour of the owner at the time, Donald Sinclair.

He is said to have thrown  Eric Idle's briefcase out of a window, thinking that it was a bomb, and criticised Terry Gilliam for leaving his knife and fork on his plate at a slight angle, rather than straight.

The Python team asked to be transferred to a different hotel but Cleese stayed to gather material.

But Sinclair’s widow Beatrice claimed the stories had all been exaggerated.  "Certainly Donald was a disciplinarian and he couldn't stand fools. But he was not the neurotic eccentric John Cleese  made him out to be," she said.  "It's a load of rubbish, but these stories just go on  and on being repeated."

Now the 41-bedroom, three-star  hotel has gone on the market for £1.5 million through Christie and Co, after plans to demolish it to make way for luxury flats were rejected by local councillors.

Peter Addyman, from Christie and Co, said: "With its strong link to the television series and very high repeat business, we are expecting a good level of interest from prospective buyers."

Published: 4 Dec 2004

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